Artist Project Update 2/28/2014

I missed posting on Monday again. But just like last time I was working on another contest that appeared right after I had finished writing last Friday. This time the theme was for the new film The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), which will be Hayao Miyazaki’s last film. It still requires that weird format, but this time I had last competition’s experience under my belt. This is what I assumed would happen if I kept joining contests since it forces one to produce quality artworks in a small amount of time that requires one to keep a deadline in mind at all times. I felt I could do even better, but this was a big leap from the last entry. With this format (2000 x 550) it was still a bit annoying but surprisingly I did better. I decided on a theme that touched upon the harsh past that flowed to a  brighter future because of their meeting each other (sadly judging by the trailers the woman protagonist will most likely die from tuberculosis). I could only come up with so much by seeing the trailers and reading the extremely short synopsis given by deviantart.

This time I decided to work with my small collection of Copic markers I bought a couple of years ago, I was hesitant in using them because of how expensive they were. As well as my struggling ability to work with color (though I have been getting much better). To my surprise, using them was extremely intuitive. Mixing, blending and just coloring was much faster and effortless than with color pencils, which require a lot of work to have the colors stay on the paper and meld with the picture it self. There is this new technique I have been thinking of using for quite some time now, and seeing just how much I can bring out of the markers and color pencil (though I still need to work more on the color pencils) I can see the vast possibilities I can bring to my work.

The drawing and design for this piece was definitely better than last times, sadly my camera was not able to capture all of it’s greatness. The end sides got distorted because they bend up, making the drawing and colors blur. I just might have to invest on a big scanner. It’s a pain but it will be worth it if it shows my work in it’s original intended form.

In any case this is my entry:

The Wind Rises - warm breeze

 

Until next time,

-XERO

Artist Project Update 2/21/2014

Sorry. It seems I disappeared again. Luckily it was only for about a week. The reason being that I was working on an artwork for the “Lightning Returns Deviant Art contest”. I only had five days, and the weird format it had to be in was rather tough for me. I struggled a bit working on it because of this. I’d say doing the background was what made me worry the most. I had to come up with something that melded well with the actual drawing/design, but also not overtake the attention from the actual focal point. I worked with a lot of background designs, till I finally decided to make it as simple as possible.

Seeing the other entries, my hopes of winning are slim. It seems that quite a couple of them have a bit of experience in these types of formats and situations. I soon realized just how much I have to improve in  a number of areas. On the plus side I did learn a couple of cool new trick on photoshop that I plan to use and perfect for future artwork. Again, my biggest weakness is coming up with backgrounds. So that will have to be the focus of my training regimen. In any case, competitions really help hone one’s skills and show one’s weaknesses. Having that in mind, I will try to enter a couple of more in the coming days and see how much I improve.

 

Here’s my entry.

Lightning Returns Ace Swordsman

 

Unit 01 Beast Inside

Here is the drawing for this week, Unit 01 from Neon Genesis Evangelion. I was pretty much done with it yesterday, but there was something that kept bothering me about my drawings. The fact that they look so unrefined. I knew why that was of course. I did not blend the colors anymore. This happened because I decided to practice doing this so that I could increase my abilities without the need to blend them, that way once I decided to go back and put some good effort into my work I would be able to produce some amazing stuff. Sadly I got so used to doing this that I had almost forgotten the blending techniques I had developed. And because of it I have to start all over again. I gave it a try for this drawing which came out pretty well (though it looks unfinished without a background, I’ll have to do something about that from now on). Now that I have remembered a couple of my old techniques and about blending colors, I will try to bring out some better quality work from here on out.

Hope you look forward to it.

-XERO

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Ending the Youtube videos… sort of.

For the past, maybe three years or so. I have been making Youtube videos of my drawings and the process that goes to make them. I felt that it was probably the best way to make my work be known and to make my self commit to drawing something weekly. At the time I was not really sure about my future and my self making art as a sustainable solution. I just wanted to test the waters and see if my art was good enough to attract the attention of people. What I found out was that it was really hard to compete against other youtubers who made all sorts of entertainment videos. Even more so going against other artists that had a large following and fan base like Mark Crilley. My over all results were hit or miss really.

At the beginning I took requests, and that seemed to make people get more exited to watch my videos and contribute ideas as well as comment and interact with the channel. That  though meant that I would have to draw things that I didn’t really enjoy. But I went with it for about a year till my account was struck with penalties. That’s when I decided to open my secondary account that I still use to this day, Darkcloudxero. For a while I kept the same format and continued to ask for requests, but I noticed that my enthusiasm kept lowering as time went by. I eventually decided to stop taking request and focused on drawing things I liked, while also lessening the amount of video I uploaded. This in turn started to stunt the growth of my channel. Views started to dwindle, and so did comments. In the end the popularity of the video and drawing was hit or miss (many times the most unexpected one got more views).

The reason for why my videos did so poorly can be attributed on a number of things. I did not seem to put my utmost effort into my drawings when making videos (specially when taking some requests). I felt constrained to unpleasant static and stiff positions because of the camera (couldn’t move the sketch book too much or get close to the drawing otherwise I would block the view). Quality of the drawings was very inconsistent, some came out great while others just looked childish. Inconsistent uploading of videos, sometimes it took me  a whole month in between videos. Drew things that were no longer in style (things or characters people no longer cared about). etc. etc.

Point is that I had to fix quite a bit of things. But I decided to give this part up, my work suffered a great deal because of it. And not only that, but it took a long time to draw something since I had to go by the time I was given by the battery. The time it took to charge was excruciating. Plus it also didn’t help that when I am drawing, I get in a zone where I just have to keep going without interruptions otherwise it just doesn’t feel right later on. So for the sake of producing better work, I decided to give up making videos and just focus on drawing and producing some awesome stuff.

Hope you look forward to it,

-XERO

Darkcloud XERO Drawing – Rei Ayanami

As you can see, this week I do not have a video for this week. And that will most likely be the case from now on. More on that on Friday.

Rei Ayanami, the person that got me interested in Neon Genesis Evangelion (well her and the song “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”) . Strangely enough, even though I wasn’t let down when I finally saw the series, Asuka stole my attention as soon as she appeared. I feel that in the remakes of Evangelion Rei seems to have more of a future (much like Asuka). I am really looking forward to see what happens in the last movie.

As for the drawing it self. Over all I was really pleased in how it came out. But while drawing this I made a lot of mistakes which led me to make a couple of changes that led me to create the blue shadow. I have always wanted to play around with these kinds of backgrounds but over all I think it brought down the quality of the drawing it self. I’ll have to work on that a bit more from now on. On the plus side, while adding the watermark it gave it a really cool effect.

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